Study Finds More California Drivers On Drugs Than Alcohol
Thanksgiving weekend is a time for travel, auto accidents -- and DUI checkpoints. And a new study finds more California drivers are under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol.
"This is certainly a time when people should be really aware of it,'' said Chris Cochran, a spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety, which conducted the study. "They need to be aware of it all year long, but this is a particularly dangerous time of year."
The study taps data from more than 1,300 nighttime drivers who voluntarily agreed to provide breath and saliva samples at roadside locations in nine California cities.
Drugs that can affect driving were found in one of every seven drivers. And more drivers tested positive for drugs than for alcohol, with marijuana the most common drug. The study included legal and over-the-counter medications like cough medicine that can also impair driving.
Cochran says DUI checkpoints are often staffed with officers trained to detect drivers under the influence of drugs.
Cochran says the findings will guide future public education programs
"Now you'll be seeing more and more talking about drunk and drugged driving. So that will just become part of the lexicon of how we describe impaired driving is both alcohol and drugs."